31st January

Born on this day 31st January
1857 George Jackson Churchward
1889 Frank Foster
1892 Eddie Cantor
1911 Eddie Byrne
1920 Bert Williams
1921 Mario Lanza
1929 Jean Simmons
1931 Sir Christopher Chataway
1942 Derek Jarman
1951 Phil Manzanera
1956 John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten
1960 Grant Morrison
1961 Lloyd Cole
1966 Dexter Fletcher
1968 Matt King
1970 Minnie Driver
1983 James Sutton

Died on this day
1788 Bonnie Prince Charlie
1956 AA Milne
1974 Samuel Goldwyn


1972 The funeral of Mahalia Jackson took place, with Aretha Franklin among the mourners performing a memorial.

1984 Holding onto the Number 1 spot in the UK were Frankie Goes to Hollywood with their controversial debut single, ‘Relax’


1995 Eric Cantona’s football boots and the shoes in which Nelson Mandela walked to freedom were donated to the First Steps Appeal for premature births and miscarriages

People & Showbiz

1606 Gunpowder Plot: Guy Fawkes is executed for his plotting against Parliament and James I of England.

1990 The High Court ordered London Cannon Films to pay stuntman John Lees from Norland, W Yorkshire, £251,148 after his career ended when harness wires broke during the filming of ‘Superman IV’.

1992 It was reported that David Jason had spent a day visiting his local police station at Aylesbury, in preparation for his new role as Detective Chief Inspector Frost in the new TV series ‘A Touch of Frost’.

1994 It was reported that the ‘Beano’s’ Bash Street Kids were to be updated, for the first time since the strip began in 1954, in attempt to make them more politically correct. The editor revealed that Fatty would give up his pork pies for muesli, Plug would lose his buck teeth and large ears, slow learner Smiffy would become brainy, and Spotty would be cured of his acne.

General Events

1747 The first venereal diseases clinic opens at London Lock Hospital.

1849 Corn Laws are abolished in the United Kingdom.

1930 3M begins marketing Scotch Tape.

1954 Britain was gripped by severe winter weather, with 23 people reported to have been killed in accidents in the icy conditions.

1968 The island of Mauritius became independent of Britain after several days of race riots.

1988 The government was accused by the British Medical Association of deliberately running down the NHS.

1990 According to a report by the Western Provident Association, a private hospital patient was charged £168 for a cotton wool swab, £7 for a plaster and £68 for an injection which would normally cost less than £4.

1990 The first McDonald’s in the Soviet Union opens in Moscow.

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